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Kremlin: World much larger than Europe, impossible to fully isolate Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (Photo by AFP)

Russia says in no way could the country become completely isolated, as the West continues imposing new sanctions on Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine.

“There cannot be any complete vacuum or isolation for Russia, it is technologically impossible in the modern world. The world is much bigger than Europe. And Russia itself is much bigger than Europe,” the Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with the Russia-1 TV channel on Sunday.

“Yet sooner or later we will have to establish dialogue, whether someone overseas wants it or not.”

The Kremlin official added that the negotiation process with Ukraine will be followed by “a complex conversation both with the EU and European countries.”

“In any case, we won’t be able to live in a vacuum from that direction.”

Peskov said a summit between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, would be “hypothetically possible” but it would require a written document agreed by both sides at the peace negotiations. The delegations must produce a “specific written document, not a set of ideas.”

Earlier in the day, Russia's top negotiator in the ceasefire talks said it was too early for a top-level meeting on ending the conflict.

Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow. Russia says it will halt the operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow’s list of demands, including never applying to join NATO.

Russian forces ‘abducted’ 11 mayors: Ukraine

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has claimed Russian forces have kidnapped 11 local community leaders in the former Soviet country.

In a video message posted on her Telegram account, Vereshchuk said 11 local mayors from Kiev, Kherson, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Donetsk "are in Russian captivity."

She said Ukraine will “inform the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN and other organizations about their captivity.” Vereshchuk claimed Olga Sukhenko, the mayor of Motyzhyn – a village west of Kiev – has been killed while in detention.

Blasts heard in Russian city of Belgorod, witnesses say

In the Russian city of Belgorod near the border with Ukraine, witnesses told Reuters two blasts had been heard on Sunday.

Oleg Medvedev, head of the Yakovlevsky city district, wrote on Telegram, “There was a bang, debris fell onto the ground.” He did not elaborate on the nature of the debris nor on the cause of the blast.

Moscow has accused Kiev of carrying out a helicopter attack against a fuel depot in Belgorod.

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